Summary: The world and religious possibilities can blind us to truth. The evidence of Christ encourages us to be renewed in trust that what Jesus speaks will come to pass.
Scripture/text: Mark 13:32-36
Leafs – rough start to their Season. First eight games were loses. Then hope was born … we got Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins! Haven’t won the cup since 1967 – yes, I was only 5 years old. People laugh. Leaf jokes are now hotter than Newfie jokes!
Things are changing, so much so that in 2014 the Leafs will be the Stanley Cup champions! Not only that, they will be the reigning champions for six consecutive years, losing to the Carolina Hurricane in 2020! We’ll raise an eyebrow and ask, “Washington Capitals … are they a hockey team?”
I lost some of you who know nothing about Hockey. I simply made the worst teams the best in the League (actually the Leafs are the fourth worst team!)
My predictions and “prophecies” are about as plausible as Messiah showing up in a barn. My ludicrous musings about the hockey world five years from now would seem as likely as Isaiah’s. Many people thought him out of his mind. Isaiah was the man in the Bible who was a prophet, a person who could predict future events. He told the people of Israel that the Messiah would be born to a virgin teenage. What Isaiah didn’t know was that his “prediction” wouldn’t happen for another 700 years. You can read the story in Isaiah 7. And you think it impossible that the Leaf’s can win the Stanley? God can do the impossible you know! Maybe the Leafs are not winning because God’s people don’t have faith!
Isaiah was right. Jesus showed up! … “Unto you is born this day…” (Lu 2:11)
Advent – coming
Birth of Christ as Advent … coming
Jesus now does what Isaiah did, only in person … he tells us he’s coming again – ADVENT! It’s going to happen again! First time he came as a baby, next time a King enthroned! First time in poverty but the next time in pomp and splendour!
Do you ever question how valid all of this is? Have any doubts? We’ve been saying for years – “He’s coming again”. Use to sing “He’s coming soon!” Can we trust that? The answer comes back,
1. WE CAN TRUST HIS WORD!
- Mark 13 appears to be full of prophecy. Jesus is not providing, as Barclay notes, “a map of eternity nor a timetable to the future…” Dealing with the “here and now” realities of his day, for the purpose, among other things, of settling his credibility.
- Jesus responds to disciples’ amazement (read 13:1-2…) Response is regarding the destruction of the Solomon’s Temple, of future events which that generation would see, not of end-times.
- Verses 6-8 speak of false prophets (v6), political conflict (v7-8) and natural disasters (v8).
- Sources show us that as Jesus prophesied of wars the Parthians pressed the Roman frontiers. In speaking of earthquakes, forty years later the Roman world was shaken by a major earthquake that destroyed Laodicaea along with the eruption of Vesuvius which buried Pompeii in lava. Jesus’ prophecy of famine was realised as famine swept through Rome during Claudius’ reign.
- Because many of Jesus’ followers lived to see the Roman Empire destroy the Temple as Jesus told them, along with the other predictions or prophecies he made, they then knew everything else he said would also happen in its appointed time that they could trust his Word. Jesus then springboards from establishing his credibility as a prophet and tells them what is to come regarding end times in verses 32-36 and how we should respond to that news.
Robert Sutton shares what is another impossible story: “A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they were able to negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers’ word. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.
The world and religious possibilities can blind us to truth. The evidence of Christ encourages us to be renewed in trust that what Jesus speaks will come to pass. And in today’s text he tells us He’s coming again!
2. THE NOTICE IS SERVED
- No one saw it coming. President Bush was attending a primary school activity when he received the call. Do you remember where you were on 9-11? American flights were banned from entry as provinces and countries dealt with international flights on route to America needing a place to land. What is most alarming are suggestions that American Intelligence knew something was coming but didn’t act on the information.